I haven’t read this mag in about five years. It’s boring. I buy it every once in a while, flip through it and recycle. Other than the editorials by Grace Coddington and the occasional one by Tonne Goodman, it’s not really worth the $5 price. I know some of you will hate me for my Anna Wintour fatigue but I really do think Vogue US needs a fresh look and approach. Sure, I get the Anna Wintour worship. I, too, have worshipped her once. I adored Vogue in the 90s! There were a lot of memorable and even some brilliant covers, but all great things must come to an end. And things eventually did come to an end with Wintour’s fascinations with celebrities. The truth is that Vogue US has been lagging behind artistically (and fashion is art, right?) for the past decade. The 2010 covers have been a bore, with twelve issues featuring eleven actresses (Rachel McAdams, Jessica Biel, Tina Fey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Blake Lively, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry, Carey Mulligan, Anne Hathaway and Angelina Jolie) and one (yes, just Giselle Bunchen) model. Vogue US settled into a pretty and familiar comfort zone a while back and it’s showing no signs of further development. While other Vogues are experiencing a Renaissance — China and Russia in particular — Vogue US is one giant yawn.
Anna Wintour by Alex Katz (my favourite painter), 2009
JANUARY: Rachel McAdams for Vogue US; Natasha Poly for Vogue Russia
Things didn’t start on the right foot with January’s horrific cover featuring the gorgeous Rachel McAdams. She looked very matronly, and at first I thought it was a very demure Sharon Stone. Vogue Russia kicked off the year with smouldering Natasha Poly channeling 1960 glamour Bardot. Take your pick!
APRIL: Giselle Bunchen for Vogue US; Amber Valletta for Vogue Italia
The only model that graced Vogue US‘s cover in 2010 was the Brazillian stunner Giselle Bunchen. You’d think that the world’s greatest supermodel would make for a gorgeous cover, but no: we get a horrid ensemble of booty shorts with a one-shouldered leotard? If you look close enough, I swear you could see a camel-toe. On the other hand, we had a stunning issue by Vogue Italia with Amber Valletta. While her hairstyle may be questionable, I love the composition and the simplicity. Notice the lack of ridiculous headlines on the cover? Yes, I don’t really care how to “shape up for spring.” I’ll buy Shape for that. I want fashion.
SEPTEMBER: Halle Berry for Vogue US; Liu Wen, Shu Pei, Tao Okamoto, Ming Xi & Sun Feifei for Vogue China
According to The September Issue, this was supposed to be the most important issue of the year. Yeah, we got Halle Berry with a weird wig channeling the 1920s. I’m sorry, but wasn’t this F/W season all about crimsons, camels and the 1950s? It left me baffled. The cover I absolutely loved was the Vogue China’s Asian supers adorned in seductive crimson shades. It echoed the great supermodel era.
DECEMBER: Angelina Jolie for Vogue US; Sasha Pivarova for Vogue Korea
The worst cover was of Angelia Jolie, a woman that is so ridiculously unfashionable that I often think she looks closer to 50 than 40 (turns out she is only 35). No amount of styling can help her. Not even Tonne Goodman. Ok, bring on the Brangelunatics! On the opposite side of the world, we had a wonderful cover by Vogue Korea with Sasha Pivarova: very high-fashion, very festive. It had a beautiful composition of her red silhouette against a silver background. It’s so nice to see a model, well, “modelling.”
Natalie Portman for Vogue US (January 2011) and Vogue US (May 2002)
When it comes to celebs, there are a few that I don’t mind seeing as faces of fashion, and those are Gwyneth Paltrow, who had a great Vogue US cover in August, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Keira Knightley, Natalie Portman and anyone French. Don’t get me wrong: I think Vogue’s January 2011 Natalie Portman cover is a great one but too bad she has already done the same one back in 2002! Same dress, same hair, same make-up, same colour combo… Really? This is the best Vogue could do? Portman is promoting The Black Swan, a very dark film where she plays a very dark and twisted character and Vogue puts her in virginal pale pink? This would have been a great opportunity to show Portman in a new light: more seductive, more edgy.
So, do you agree with me? Does Vogue US need a big change? I mean, Wintour is surely capable of better.
Michaela Bercu for Vogue US (November 1988) ; Naomi Campbell for Vogue US (September 1989)
From the very beginning, she made fashion smiley and approachable which was a great departure from stiff celluloid faces of the 80s.
Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford,Karen Mulder, Elaine Irwin, Niki Taylor, Yasmeen Ghauri, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell & Tatjana Patitz for Vogue US (April 1992); Helena Christiansen, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Stephanie Seymour for Vogue US (April 1993)
Vogue US celebrated 100 years with a history-making cover featuring ten gorgeous supermodels wearing GAP (yes, GAP). These epic group covers became a tradition for Vogue enlisting established faces and introducing new ones.
Doutzen Kroes, Lily Donaldson, Hilary Rhoda, Sasha Pivovarova, Caroline Trentini, Racquel Zimmerman, Chanel Iman, Jessica Stam, Coco Rocha & Agyness Deyn for Vogue US (May 2007)
Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta for Vogue US (September 1995) and Vogue US (March 1997)
My two favorites were Shalom Harlow, my favourite supermodel, and her bestie Amber Valletta. They came as a team and appeared on a cover at least once a year, always smiley, all-American (or Canadian in Shalom’s case) and happy.
Sadly, it seems that Shalom Harlow — or any model — would have to pay Vogue US these days to get on a cover. There are big and groundbreaking names in the industry that have never graced the US cover. Who would I like to see? Crystal Renn, the face of changing times.